He is off contract at the end of the season and for the last few years, he has been less than enthusiastic about re-signing with the Canberra Raiders. Now, news has emerged that Josh Dugan is facing speeding charges after being clocked doing 105kph in a 60kph zone.
On top of this, Dugan was unlicensed, a situation he claims he was unaware of.
So the question I have is this…
Do the Canberra Raiders really want to spend a large chunk of the teams salary cap on a brilliant but extremely injury prone young man who has questionable judgement off the field and who, for what ever reason, seems like he really doesn’t want to be in Canberra?
Its often a struggle for all fans when it comes to a great young player who is injury prone. Every single one of us see’s the potential, we remember the brilliance, and we are willing to overlook the missed games in the hope that a few more seasons and a bit of luck will see our good young injury prone stars finally get a decent run of games under their belt.
Unfortunately, when a player starts off their career injury prone, it is very rarely that they ever shake that issue completely.
Many will point to Benji Marshall as the ultimate in a great injury prone player who managed to turn things around. Benji Marshall’s career was thought to be just about over due to his shoulder problems, but amazingly, he has managed to get past those issues and become a reliable first grade player.
When Marshall come into first grade though, he looked very different to the player we see today. He was a slight player, he still had the build of a touch footballer. You also have to consider that Marshall’s upside is probably higher than any other injury prone player in the history of the game. Consider that includes a bloke called Reg that used to play for the Dragons…
Could you say that Dugan just needs to develop the body of a first grade player? I don’t think so. He is a lean player but if anything if he puts on more weight it might actually hurt his game.
Off the field, its hard to work out what is wrong with Dugan. I call him a Bogan, and seriously, have a look at his tattoo’s and keep in mind he missed games last year with a “boil”. You wanna argue against me?
For as long as he has been known to be a good player it seems like he has been looking for a way out of Canberra. More than a few times he has been linked to other clubs, even while still having a couple of years left on his contract. There have been rumours of him not liking the coaching staff at Canberra and at the end of the day, its a lot of negative noise coming from his direction.
Canberra fans can blame the newspapers for this all they like, but at the end of the day, there is no smoke without fire.
You then have to think about the off field rubbish he gets involved in. This isn’t his first time he has been involved with the law. In any case, if you are doing 105kph in a 60kph zone, you’re not just a bit of a lead foot, you are thrashing a car dangerously. You could easily kill yourself or someone else doing something that stupid. It is a 60kph zone for a good reason!
As for saying he didn’t know his licence was suspended, please! Didn’t the letters from the RTA get to you young fella? Maybe you need to run that by your manager too.
Overall, when you take in the whole Josh Dugan package, you have to wonder if it is all worth the hassle. Is Josh Dugan good enough that in the dozen games he actually plays in a season, and with all the off field crap he brings to the table, is he worth spending a massive part of your salary cap on?
The Raiders have a great junior nursery that produces great young players. It is a system that would make most clubs envious.
I have no doubt what so ever that the Raiders would have a few youngsters right now in their junior development system that could step into first grade right now and, sure, they might not tear an opposition team apart, but they would get the job done, cost a whole lot less, bring no off field issues to the side and, most importantly, they would back up and be ready to play every single week.
That last point for me is the big issue.
A coach will tell you that the most valuable players in a side are the ones you name in March for the first game of the season and you can rely on them every single week to turn up and do their job. Give me the bloke that is a fringe State Of Origin level player who plays every game of the season over the potential Test level player who is only first for half the season.
If you are going to make a player your highest paid, he simply needs to turn up every single week.
That is something that Josh Dugan can no give you right now. Forget all the other issues, which in themselves are significant, this is a young player who wants top dollar and yet who has yet to prove he can play regular first grade football without being injured.
In my opinion, the Canberra Raiders would be crazy to make Josh Dugan a huge offer. He has now become a drama that the Raiders can simply do without.
If there is one thing Raiders fans know its that, it doesn’t matter how great your team is on paper, if they can’t last out the season, it means nothing. Canberra should look to be shoring up their team with players that have a much better history of injury management than Dugan has shown so far over his career.
Yes it will be painful, and yes, if Dugan goes to another club and looks great in a few games, it won’t feel any better. However, what the Raiders need from any player they invest in right now, Dugan can not give to them.
I wouldn’t want my club spending any money on Josh Dugan. Trust me, as a Panthers fan, I know what its like when a big chunk of your salary cap is sitting on the sidelines and causing off field issues.
Lets hope the Canberra Raiders do the smart thing, get rid of what is becoming a problem and let another club spend their time and money going to court appearances in between shuffling Dugan too and from rehab sessions.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com